Holidays My Life Parenting

Eleanor’s First Valentine’s Day Cards

A word of warning: you’re probably not going to pin these on Pinterest. They are a three-year-old girl’s first Valentine’s Day cards and they are simple, but she and her mother are over the moon about them.

Eleanor's Valentine's Day Cards

I suppose I could have staged an elaborate table full of supplies, given a step-by-step tutorial, and taken beautiful photos in the early afternoon when the daylight is best. Maybe I should have gathered polished river stones (“You rock, Valentine!”) or done something clever with paint chips. Instead, my girl and I got together over the little side table in the living room and I helped her write her name a dozen times on paper hearts. Midway through, I asked Brandon to grab my phone and take a few pictures. It was real life.

Happy Valentine’s Day, from your friend, Eleanor. (And from me, too.)

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  • wendy
    February 14, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    yay for not-fancy! first valentines were done at my house too. a couple sheets of heavy stock, cut into squares, and a free graphic from the internets, that my 3.5 yr old picked.

    I did all the cutting, she did the gluing (of graphic to card), the coloring (of graphic) and signing her own name. I also did the addressing.

    whole thing took maybe 40 mins, in two sessions, and was totally free.

  • Kim
    February 14, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    What sweet little Valentines. Really, you should have simple, personal Valentines, nothing crazy or over the top! :)

  • mandy @ this girl's life
    February 14, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    These are so sweet! I love that she wrote on all of them. My boys had to make 26 so after about 10 each they ran out of steam. :)

  • ryan
    February 14, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Cute. We let my daughter pick out princess cards and she grew tired of writing her name after about five and we ended up doing the rest! She’s almost 4 and I’ve realized that, at this age, not everything has to be “pinterest worthy.”

  • Catherine
    February 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    What a sweet post! I just got back from Valentine’s Day lunch at school with my boys, and my 4-year-old made me a wrist corsage. It has artificial flowers, closes with a safety pin, and is the loveliest thing anyone has every given me. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • Emily | Sparkle Meets Pop
    February 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    So sweet! They’re absolutely perfect. :)

  • eskimo*rose
    February 14, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    THese are the best sort of valentine’s cards … and the best sort of background stories too! It’s what happens chez moi all the time!
    Happy Valentines

  • Laura
    February 14, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    This is perfect. Keep it simple.

  • Chelsea C.
    February 14, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    This is just the best. My favorite Valentine I’ve seen this year is the one my 2-year-old niece sent me — complete with errant pompoms, half-stuck-on glitter, and scribbles that mean “I love you.”

  • jbhat
    February 14, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Lovely! Honestly, it’s refreshing to see something so simply done on a design blog. Thanks!!


  • sue
    February 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    real life is invariably the best… these look absolutely lovely!

  • Alexandra Hedin
    February 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    You are too adorable!

  • mary
    February 14, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    these are just beautiful!

  • Marissa
    February 14, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Aww, I love them! Happy Valentine’s Day, sweet Eleanor! You’re a lucky little lady to have such a great mom.

  • Crystal
    February 14, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Thank you for posting these. These are what three-year-olds Valentine’s are supposed to look like. My own are grown so I don’t personally have to deal with the level of competetive parenting that has rendered the lovely child-made or cartoon-character du jour store-bought Valentine obsolete but I see it and it makes me sad. In my office I have been seeing the progress (via iPhone, Pinterest, e-mail and Facebook)for weeks about the elaborate over the top “project” Valentines that a co-worker has been creating for her childrens’ classes. She made them. Her kids didn’t help, they couldn’t do it to her standards. They didn’t care, weren’t interested. She came in crowing this morning about how she “won” Valentine’s Day and made the other parents feel bad. She was joking, or at least passed it off as such. Give me the lop-sided, gummy, glitter-strewn, yarn-wrapped joys of childhood over the Pinterest-perfect-project any day. Tuck ones these away in a box or a drawer and years from now the sight of it will fill you with the warm remembrance of the day you helped Eleanor with her first Valentines. I know. I have the 20-plus-year old ephemera of our girls’ childhoods and they still make us smile. The memories you made, the joy you shared, the pride you instilled; YOU won Valentine’s Day. Congratulations!

  • Heather
    February 14, 2013 at 5:49 pm


  • Jenna
    February 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Yay for real life! I love fancy-shmancy and over the top sometimes. But I love real life just as much. Beautiful Valentines, Eleanor {and Mommy}!

  • Kirstin
    February 14, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    I love these! Isn’t it more about the experience than how fancy the cards are? The memories are the best part. So fun to have it documented here.

  • Jess
    February 14, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Awww looks like she’s got some artistic talent.

  • Megan @ Two Live Colorfully
    February 14, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Well, I think they are lovely!! Simple, quick, but still customized. And I would wager you’d much rather find one of these saved Valentine’s in 10 years than a super styled up one. :D

    Happy Valentine’s Day Nicole!!

  • Becky
    February 14, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Hi Nicole I hardly ever comment on posts but this made me smile so much! Thanks for sharing this story with us!

  • Lauren
    February 15, 2013 at 12:26 am

    I love it!

  • Kamilla Vinther
    February 15, 2013 at 3:11 am

    Valentine’s Day is not a big thing in my country, and it’s mainly the shops taking advantage of a tradition to make more money. But I really like the concept of showing your loveones that you care for them, and in the future it could be a nice thing to do with my (future) children. You can never show your love too much!

  • Emily
    February 15, 2013 at 4:02 am

    I agree with Crystal, this whole competitive-Pinterest-bloggy thing has gotten out of control when it comes to children’s crafts, birthday parties, etc. It feels weird and wrong to suck them into competitive crafting at such a young age — we should be enabling their own creativity, not setting up staged/photographed ‘craft sessions’ for others to ooh and ahh over, or feel in any way AGAIN we’re not living up to some ‘gold mommy’ standard. Love Eleanor’s sweet valentines.

  • amberlee
    February 15, 2013 at 8:17 am

    couldn’t be sweeter : )

  • baila
    February 15, 2013 at 10:22 am

    i know this wasn’t the point of the post,but you inspired me to get out my polka dot cardigan again! i loved how you paired it with that floral shirt!
    i ended up pulling out a bunch of stuff from my closet and making more outfits – thanks for the winter pick me up!

  • Holly
    February 15, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Hip hip hooray! Ours were simple too and my daughter did some scribble/coloring on them – done and done. And she loved them. I was amazed by the amount of goodie bags she got. When did Valentine’s turn into a snack bar?

  • erica
    February 15, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Thank you thank you for your simplicity and sanity.
    As much as I love the pinterest world and the blogosphere, it often leaves me with the sinking feeling that life’s a competition and I’m losing.

  • Wendy @ New Moms Talk
    February 15, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Cheers to real life!

    With some help (a lot!) from her Mom, Susanna and I cut out 14 hearts and wrote things she loves about her Dad on them. We then placed them around her in her crib.

    Reality- I did it while they were both sleeping, it cost us nothing, and my hub loved it!

    Happy Belated Valentine’s Day to you and yours!

  • Alice
    February 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Aww, this is so cute and sweet! :)

    Happy Valentine’s day girls, although I am a bit late.


  • Brittany Lauren
    February 15, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Nothing beats real life experiences! Memories shared between you and your family is the sweetest v-day I can think of. Nothing can pin that :)

  • Megan
    February 15, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    I love these, thank you for sharing! My 3.5 year old came home from preschool with a big piece of paper that said “My Family’s Heart” and we were supposed to do whatever we liked with it and bring it in. He’s just started being able to draw people (round circle with lines sticking out of it), so I had him draw Mama, Dada, and Marcus. I drew the animals for him and wrote the names on, but otherwise it was totally his picture and we were both really proud of it. We looked at his friends’ hearts when we brought it back to preschool, and most of them were obviously done by the parents. Glitter, foam hearts, photos, color coordinated scrapbook papers. Marcus’ looks a little plain next to their jazzy hearts, and for a moment I felt like I hadn’t put enough work into his picture. Then I realized that was a crazy thought, and that his was really the most beautiful one on the wall because HE made it!